Cooking Lessons: Cake Monkey Apple Pie

March 22nd, 2011

Get This Party Started

Yes, I realize that I am the captain of the food cheer leading squad. I understand that I describe everything as delicious, and yum-tastic, and to die for. And the problem with being so obsessed with the tastiness of my food all-the-time is that it’s the proverbial boy that cried wolf. When I need you to really appreciate that something is so out of this world you might be all “yeah Rach, but didn’t you also say that about the bagel you had this morning?” Ok, true, I probably do love to eat a little too much, but that shouldn’t water down this epic statement I’m about to make.

Cake Monkey is hands-down the best bakery in Los Angeles.

If you get the opportunity to do a tasting there, bring a change of clothes because you WILL pee your pants.

So weeks ago when I decided to start up this series called Cooking Lessons, where actual real-life cooks teach me how to cook in their style, I started first with Cake Monkey owners Lisa Olin and Elizabeth Belkind. The ladies were nice enough to let me come into the inner sanctum and learn to bake their amazing Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese crust (you may have had a slice at Umami Burger) and once again, this know-it-all learned (and ate) a ton!

Rollin’ Down the River

Elizabeth and I start by rolling out the dough. Tip number one, we used French Rolling pins (the kind without handles) and since I’ve always been curious I asked “do we really need these, or are they just fancy?” Elizabeth told me they’re great when you’re working with large batches of dough (as she always does) because they aren’t as tough on your wrists. Tip number one, check.

Hard at Work

Pie Plate

You want to roll your dough out larger than your pie plate. Cake Monkey uses paper pie plates which is such a great idea if you’re taking yours to a party. No glassware to bring back!

Elizabeth laughing at my Mad-Skills

Fill Your Plate

Trimming the Edges

Now, use your hands to press your dough into your pie plate and run a thumb and finger around the edge pressing it firmly into place. Elizabeth did this in seconds, I took, about 3 hours.

Don’t Poke Me

SUPER AMAZING TIP – next we used a skewer to poke holes in our dough. This gave the air somewhere to escape and made for an even crispy crust

Parchment Paper

Now, we sprayed the entire thing with non-stick spray and covered it with parchment paper. What? I know, I was confused at first too… this is not how Grandma Neeley made pies.

Bean Pie

Now we filled the parchment paper with uncooked pinto beans… these were our pie weights (and apparently) can be used over and over, don’t mind the smell. Elizabeth explains that she hates an uncooked pie bottom. By baking the crust first she ensures a flaky base for her amazing filling.

Now for that amazing filling. Elizabeth was kind enough to share her recipe… the crust though is top secret so you have to dream that up on your own.

Cider Roasted Apple Pie Filling: Yields Filling for one double crusted 9” round pie

5 peeled, cored Pink Lady Apples

3 peeled, cored Granny Smith Apples

1 cup apple cider jelly

1/3 c granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown butter (see recipe)

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped.

Place the cold butter in a heavy bottomed, non -reactive sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts, whisk gently.

Lower flame to medium low and continue heating and whisking occasionally until butter becomes first, thick and foamy., and then very bubbly. Whisk continuously until you see small, copper colored flecks floating towards the top of the pan. Remove from heat. Add the scraped vanilla bean and the vanilla pulp, and whisk to dissolve into the butter. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice each apple into 10 or 12 wedges.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, the cider jelly, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla brown butter. With your hands, or a spatula, toss all the ingredients together until the apples are evenly coated in the jelly and butter.

Transfer the apples to a large roasting pan.

Place the apple pan in the oven.

The apples will take anywhere from one hour to one and a half hours to reach desired consistency and color. Be sure to stir the apples gently every 25 minutes to prevent the top surface from burning. You will notice that the granny smith apples will become soft and saucy and the pink lady apples will retain their shape. Stirring will baste the apples and yield an evenly cooked, richly caramelized filling.

Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

Fill ‘er Up

Once our crust had cooled, we filled it with the room temperature filling.

Top it Off

Now roll out a second round of dough, cut out the circle and gingerly (i was terrible at this) place it on top. Seal the edges with your fingers. Brush heavily with an egg wash, sprinkle generously with sugar, and cut four slits in the top (ventilation). Bake until golden brown.

Pie in the Sky

Where’s My Pie?

Look Ma, I Made a Pie!

Piece of Mine

Topped with vanilla ice cream is a MUST!

Ice Ice Baby

To learn more about Cake Monkey and their amazing creations visit their website by clicking here -> Cake Monkey Website